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January 8, 2005

DOJ left hand meet DOJ right hand

On Thursday, as detailed here, AG nominee Alberto Gonzales testified to Congress that he believes "there is a segment of the prison population — juveniles, ... first-time, maybe sometimes second-time offenders — who can be rehabilitated."  He also said, "I think it is not only smart, but I think it's the right thing to do. I think it is part of a compassionate society to give someone another chance."

On Friday, we get news of a much different story on rehabilitation.  According to this article from Buffalo, the "Bush administration plans to eliminate a shock incarceration program that many considered a progressive way to help first-time offenders avoid long federal prison terms."  Here are some highlights, or should I say lowlights, from the article:

While no formal announcement has been made, Carla Wilson, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman in Washington, confirmed Friday that the 14-year-old Intensive Confinement Program will be discontinued.  "Yes, we got word that it's being phased out," she said. "I don't have a lot of information on it at this point."...

"We've been told by (prison officials) that they felt the program was not cost-effective and was not successful at preventing people from becoming repeat offenders," one court official said.

The program was designed for younger, nonviolent, first-time convicts who faced no more than 30 months in federal prison. Those who qualified spent six months in an intensive "boot camp" that provided strict discipline, job training and counseling, followed by time in a community halfway house and home confinement.

Plans to close down the program drew a negative reaction from a federal judge in Buffalo and from defense attorneys, who called it a rare glimmer of hope for young people entering the criminal justice system.

"I'm shocked," said District Judge William M. Skretny, who has recommended about 60 defendants for the program since becoming a judge in 1990. "I'd be very disappointed if this shutdown goes forward. I've had prisoners write to me after going through the program and tell me what a positive experience it has been in their lives."

"This is a step backward for the rehabilitation of criminals," said Timothy W. Hoover, a federal public defender. "This is the crown jewel of the federal prison system. It helps people to get their lives on track. They're shutting it down without even consulting with the most important people - the judges who do the sentencing."  Hoover said he contacted the Bureau of Prisons on Friday and was told rumors of the program's demise were true....

The shutdown also upset Mary Price, general counsel to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a 35,000-member nationwide group that has been lobbying for sentencing reforms in the federal and state courts.

"This is the kind of program that President Bush and his administration should love," she said. "It's a program designed to give people the tools to improve themselves and get back into the world.  At a time when federal sentencing and law seem to be moving in the wrong direction, this program was a beacon.  It's all about rehabilitation."

January 8, 2005 at 01:19 PM | Permalink


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» Alberto Gonzales' Hearing: Non-Torture Issues from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Law Prof Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy analyzes the responses of Alberto Gonzales at his confirmation hearing with respect to some non-torture issues, particlarly, those dealing with rehabilitation of prisoners and the Sentencing Guidelines.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 8, 2005 1:37:31 PM

» Alberto Gonzales' Hearing: Non-Torture Issues from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Law Prof Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy analyzes the responses of Alberto Gonzales at his confirmation hearing with respect to some non-torture issues, particlarly, those dealing with rehabilitation of prisoners and the Sentencing Guidelines.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 8, 2005 1:39:32 PM


This goes back to the blog you talked about the profit of prisons. People are making money on prisons. Do you really think they want to rehabilitate and put themselves out of business?

Posted by: Cheryl | Jan 10, 2005 9:04:00 AM

Wow. This is shocking news. I know in my chambers all involved in the criminal justice system (judge, prosecutors, public defenders, probation...) would like to see boot camp EXPANDED, not cut completely. Just the other day a convict came for sentencing and everyone indicated that boot camp would help the convict tremendously, but because of the convict's one violent past offense (and the convict's age) the convict would be ineligible.
If it is true that boot camp is unsuccessful in preventing recidivism, I'd like to see the proof. If it's not cost effective, I'd like to see that proof, comparing, say, one "stay" at boot camp to multiple periods of incarceration at higher level institutions, presuming that boot camp would prevent recidivism at least at a level better than incarceration itself. And if boot camp isn't effective, shouldn't the BOP (1) change who can enter the program or (2) change the program some way before shutting it down altogether?

Posted by: District Clerk Battling Blakely | Jan 10, 2005 9:20:35 AM

Federal defender offices received notice last week that the last participants in the federal boot camp program entered the program on January 7, 2005. When these inmates finish the program, it will be dismantled and the camps converted to minimum security prisons.

This is just another sign that rehabilitation is not a consideration for those establishing current sentencing policy.

Posted by: Shari | Jan 10, 2005 1:15:23 PM

Is there someone out there doing ANYthing about trying to reinstate this ICC ("boot camp") program? My son was scheduled to be sent there last month. Now he sits in prison...

Posted by: LMH | Feb 3, 2005 7:56:39 AM

I went to boot camp in lompoc california for a drugs about 2 years or so ago. I was sentenced in the northern district of Iowa. I went in at 6'6 170lbs. I am now 6'6 255lbs and heavily inot weight lifting. It was the best program on the market. It will detox you and put you in the best shape of your life. I now make a 6 figure income and have started my own corporation. I don't know of anyone who has been incarcerated do the things that I have done. They should bring it back.

Posted by: Kevin Crock | Jul 24, 2006 1:12:08 PM

It's good that the authorities are thinking of the people in the prison and how to help them to return their lifes.Because when you go out from the federal prison camp for an instance it will be very hard foryou to start your life again alone.

Posted by: Cara Fletcher | Jul 26, 2007 6:08:15 AM

How and where can I find the incarceration length for a level 23, crime Meth? Can anyone help me with this? My dgtr is setting at CCA, Leavenworth waiting for the argument concerning cooperation and is currently level 23 per the PTI. She has volunteered for the drug program already. Accepted responsibility and etc.

Posted by: Cherryl | Jul 28, 2007 8:53:31 PM

Hello! "I attended the Boot camp program in july of 2003. I thank God everyday for giving the judge who sentence me the opportunity to participaate in the ICC program in Bryan, TX. I am totally disapointed and sadden that this program was terminated. It truly changed my life and it prepared me to overcome ANY situation that came accross in life! The worst part of everything are those inmates who had hopes or were schedule to participate in future teams. I reedally hope it gets re- considered!

Posted by: Ivette | Feb 28, 2008 7:52:47 PM

I was an inmate at the ICC Bootcamp in Lompoc, CA and the it completely, and I mean completely changed my life. I am successful today BECAUSE of the ICC. If it wasn't for the ICC, God only knows where I would be today. I was there in '99. It is now 2008. Many years ago but the memories and the lessons learned are still fresh in my mind because of the shock factor. I mean vivid. And thankfully. A hard but truly rewarding and positive experience. I have a new found respect for the military and law enforcement. I now can relate. I have nothing but love for what I went through at the ICC and to me, the entire staff there will remain in my heart until the day I die. Anytime I have a hardship in day to day life, I just think of the ICC and I come out winning everytime. I thank God for sending me to the ICC. I probably would've been dead by now if it wasn't for the ICC. Not only am I still alive, but am successful in business and in life thanks to the ICC. Our motto was "If you can believe it, you can achieve it!" Go Charlie Team!! I saved everything from there from my class paperwork to my diplomas to my hat & toothbrush! And I'll tell you what, I cherish every item. The hell that we went through there has turned completely into nothing but precious gratefulness and wisdom. It is an amazing memory that I will be grateful for and cherish for a lifetime. When I learned that it would be no more, I got choked up. I hoped to return to visit someday. Just to reflect on where I came from.

Posted by: Randy Lopez, Garden Grove, CA | Mar 11, 2008 2:52:20 AM

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Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 6:45:05 AM

I can surely relate to the last comment posted, i was in the icc program in 2000 a long time ago. And with out that program who knows where i would be today. I am very hart broken that this program is know longer available, it sure changed my life and truley till this day i think of all the guys that went through that class with me often. The hell we went through at the beginning to the the good times at the end. I remember like it was yesterday, we made it!! was one of the best feelings of my life.( Go Delta )

Posted by: Richard Luna | Jul 15, 2010 3:14:07 PM


Posted by: JANE DARBY | Oct 10, 2011 3:35:20 PM

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